That Time I Interviewed Kevin Costner… #McFarlandUSAEvent

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As part of the #McFarlandUSAEvent blog team, I got to do some pretty cool things thanks to Disney.  All opinions, as always, are 100% my own!

That Time I Interviewed Kevin Costner... #McFarlandUSAEvent | Optimistic Mommy

Photo Credit: Silvia Mtz/Mama Latina Tips

Saturday, February 7, 2015.  This day will go down in history for me as the day I got to interview Kevin Costner!  As part of the #McFarlandUSAEvent, 24 mom and dad bloggers and myself got to sit in a room and interview the one and only Kevin Costner for 15 minutes.  Before he entered the room, all of us mom bloggers were certainly holding our breath and staring at the door, waiting for his arrival.  And when he walked in?  I couldn’t believe my eyes!  He really is as handsome in real life as he is in pictures!

Since Kevin has never been interviewed by bloggers before, I thought it was sweet of him to ask how to do things:

Before we go on, number one, good morning and everything else  To make this the very best it can be for you, since I’ve never done this, should the answers be shorter or should they be the way I talk?

I thought that was great because he wanted to make sure we got what we needed from the interview.  Of course, he could have just stared at us all the entire time and I would have been happy. 😉  Of course that doesn’t make for an interesting interview for my awesome readers!

That Time I Interviewed Kevin Costner... #McFarlandUSAEvent | McFarland, USA Interview Exclusive | Optimistic Mommy

Photo Credit: Silvia Mtz/Mama Latina Tips

To start the great interview out, we asked what the most rewarding part of making McFarland, USA was.  We learned something interesting things from his answer:

Movies are a small part of my life.  They’re an important part.  They’re the tip of the iceberg that the rest of the world sees, but they’re a very small part of my life.  And the rewarding part of something about McFarland is that I don’t plan my life so much to the point that I miss something like McFarland, a little story about Latinos and a community that I actually participated against in high school.  I played against McFarland in baseball.  I lived in Visalia, up in the central valley, so the important thing for me was that I was able to participate in this movie and highlight a culture that we see all the time driving down our highways, looking off to the left and right, and somehow we just keep driving, right?  We’re not supposed to text and we’re not supposed to stop our car to look.  Movies have been a joy for me.  And so one that would highlight this little town and there’s little McFarland’s everywhere in America, I like that.  It’s a very important part of my filmography to be a part of this movie.

With McFarland, USA being a movie about running, we wondered what kind of training Kevin had to have:

Training?  I hate running so that’s why I enjoyed being the coach.  One time I ran with them, and as you see in the movie, I quit.  I played the coach part really well  I sat down and had a Coca-Cola.  I didn’t have to train for this, really.  It was pretty spelled out for me in the script what I would do, which was a sport I was unfamiliar with.  It was one I would try to have to educate myself with.  It was one I would have to coach without facilities, that probably the schools we would be competing against had.  So I had to try to be resourceful, and the script gave me those opportunities to do that.  SO there was not really any training involved for me.  There was just being heavily involved in these young men’s lives.

McFARLAND, USA - Johnny Sameniego (Hector Duran), Victor Puentes (Sergio Avelar), Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner), and Damacio Diaz (Jamie Michael Aguero) Ph: Film Frame ©Disney 2015

McFARLAND, USA: Johnny Sameniego (Hector Duran), Victor Puentes (Sergio Avelar), Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner), and Damacio Diaz (Jamie Michael Aguero) Ph: Film Frame ©Disney 2015

I really loved the next few lines from Kevin:

There was so much more about the movie than the finish line.  The finish line’s for them.  You can give young people something to shoot for and what we realize watching this movie sit hat when we do, they can somehow exceed beyond their own expectations.  So we realize that’s actually in front of all our children.  And if you really want to get specific about it, it’s actually in front of us, too.  Wherever you’re at in your life, there is a chance to do something else in your life.  We’re not done.  We’re here, you’re doing your job but what you want to be in your life is still in front of you  The same things that we offer our children, we shouldn’t be so ignorant to offer up to ourselves.

As we all know, Kevin Costner has been in a lot of sports films.  I bet you never would have guessed he’s turned down a lot of sports films, as well.  I think it’s interesting on why he finds sports films appealing as well.

There’s a lot of sports films that come to me that I never do because they’re not very appealing.  They maybe are too much about sports or they’re too obvious or they’re too whatever.  The best ones are about people, obviously, and there’s less sports in it than you would imagine.  The ones that try to make a wall-to-wall sports movie might as well make a documentary or watch that on ESPN.

McFarland, USA #McFarlandUSAEvent

McFARLAND, USA: Damacio Diaz (Jamie Michael Aguero), Jose Cardenas (Johnny Ortiz), Danny Diaz (Ramiro Rodriguez), Victor Puentes (Sergio Avelar), Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner), David Diaz (Rafael Martinez), Thomas Valles (Carlos Pratts) and Johnny Sameniego (Hector Duran) Credit: Ron Phillips ©Disney 2015

In McFarland, USA the real Jim White is a father-figure to the boys on the cross country team.  It was interesting to hear about whether Kevin Costner was a father-figure to the actors who played the boys:

I didn’t try to be [a father figure].  I think that you understand that I’m in that position where that could happen, so it’s better to let that happen than to just go in and be Yoda and be able to have all this stuff that you can tell them.  It’s more authentic when they actually come to you and you’re not just spouting off.  Nothing was off limits when they would come to me to talk to me.  And they began to understand that and I think, hopefully, appreciate that.

McFARLAND, USA - Thomas Valles (Carlos Pratts) and Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner). Ph: Ron Phillips ©Disney 2015

McFARLAND, USA: Thomas Valles (Carlos Pratts) and Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner). Ph: Ron Phillips ©Disney 2015

I know, for me, there were lots of emotional parts in McFarland, USA.  We asked Kevin what the most emotional part was for him, and he felt the same way but did have one highlight:

The movie was filled with a lot [of emotional parts].  One of the highlights of the movie is where it’s supposed to be – it’s before the last race.  They’ve gone from not knowing anything about what was possible to sensing that everything was suddenly possible, and what happened?  They found themselves in the last race, and they saw the buses drive up that were bigger than their bus, shinier.  They saw kids come out of the buses in uniforms that were better.  The kids were bigger.  So all of a sudden they started to shrink back.  They started to go back in their minds to McFarland.  They suddenly weren’t gonna be able to maybe compete at this level.  And that’s where men, older men, and older women, will always be at their most useful – to look at them and see the fear in somebody’s eyes, the doubt in somebody’s eyes, and to say no, you belong here.  When you make someone feel like they belong, they start to feel like giants.  And what happened?  They won.  And they continued to win, and it was all because somebody said it’s possible if you’re willing to work at it.  So an emotional thing for me always is, I hope somebody talks to my sons or daughters that way should I not be around, about what’s possible. And I think that’s what we all want for even ourselves, but more importantly, we always want it for our children.

I think it’s sweet that he puts himself in the shoes of the kids and thinks about how he wants somebody to make his kids feel important and like they matter if he isn’t around.  I know for sure that is what I want for my children, as well.

Kevin Costner is a really sweet, humble guy.  It was such an honor to meet him and be able to interview him.  It is definitely an experience I will never forget!  Make sure to see McFarland, USA in theaters starting this Friday, February 20, 2015!  You will not be disappointed!

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  1. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says

    Great interview. My hubby really wants to see this movie.

  2. Daisy says

    What an awesome experience! I would love a trip to meet celebrities like Kevin Costner. I might get tongue tied though! 🙂

  3. How awesome! That would be a chance in a lifetime to get to interview him! He is such a great actor, that is so awesome!!

  4. I had such a great time at that event! Is it just me, or does Kevin Costner make you feel like a shy little girl every time he looks at you?

  5. I am SO jealous of you right now! Kevin Costner is one of my favorite actors, and his movies are ALWAYS good. I even loved Water World. I don’t know why people gave him such a hard time for that one.

  6. Jealous…. He is so good looking! 🙂 The movie looks like it will be a big tear jerker! I can’t wait!

  7. Shauna says

    That time that I was super-jealous. LOL… This is so awesome. I love Kevin Costner. So cool.

  8. I’m really interested to watch this film and learn the story of this team. It’s interesting that Costner played baseball against McFarland’s team in high school!

  9. He is such a doll! Excited to see him in this movie!

  10. I love Kevin!! I want to see this movie for the running, the message and because Mr. Costner never ceases to be an eye pleaser 😉

  11. valerie g says

    looks like a great movie. I love kevin costner. I’m actually watching a different movie of his right now. can’t wait to see this one.

  12. Disney Feel Good Sports Movies are always really enjoyable so we’ll be catching this one once it hits Redbox. I’m glad you enjoyed your interview with Kevin Costner!


  13. That sounds like it was an awesome opportunity. He seems like a pretty nice guy.

  14. Wow, what a fun opportunity! Looks like a great movie!

  15. Rosie says

    That is really cool. I just read a long article on an interview with him, at his home with his family. He’s got it going on!!! Nice to know he really is that handsome in person, not just the camera!!!

  16. I am so excited for you! what an awesome opportunity to get to interview them.

  17. What an amazing experience to get to interview Kevin Costner! Wow! Sounds like a good movie!

  18. Ann Bacciaglia says

    It would be amazing to interview Kevin Costner. This looks like it is going to be a great movie.


  1. […] far you have gotten to read my interview with the amazing Kevin Costner, Director Niki Caro, and the real life inspirations behind the film Coach Jim White and the Diaz […]

  2. […] Costner!  Stop by to read the interview and make sure to go to see McFarland, USA February 20th! […]

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